Take the Chance: Apply to a PA Governor's School

from Susan Richman

      What? I’m telling you to apply to a school? Well, yes, but not your usual school. The PA Governor’s Schools are residential summer programs that take place on college campuses all across PA. They are open to high school applicants currently in 11th grade (and some even take 10th graders), and homeschoolers are very welcome to apply. In fact, PA homeschooled kids have been taking part almost every year since 1992.

      And another great thing you should know— the tuition is free.  No charge for 5 weeks at a college, taking challenging course work, meeting a wide range of motivated kids and teachers and college students, developing leadership skills, working on group projects, and more. My own sons Jesse and Jacob each attended a Governor’s School, and the experience was a really broadening one for them, linking them up to new people, new ideas, the world of major universities, and more. They both decided their first-choice college was where they’d gone to the Governor’s Schools— they already had a ‘home’ at these places.

      Application time is coming up VERY soon— and we have a limited number of applications here at PA Homeschoolers. Send on a large SASE for your application to no more than two of the programs listed below. The application process is a lengthy one— involving the student in writing essays, getting several recommendations, and for the arts program creating a portfolio of work— so get ready to get started. Below is a quick summary of the various schools, application deadlines, and where each program takes place.


PA Gov School for the Agricultural Sciences— For students interested in animal science, plant science, veterinary medicine, nutrition and foods, forestry, economics, environmental science, and more. Held at Penn State University, State College PA, from June 27-July 31, 1999. Current 10th and 11th graders may apply; applications due February 3, 1999. As far as I know no homeschoolers have yet attended this program-- you could be the first!


PA Gov School for the Arts— For students involved with visual arts, photography, creative writing, dance, music, acting, theater design. Held at Mercyhurst College, Erie PA, from July 3-August 7, 1999. Current 10th and 11th graders may apply; applications due January 8, 1999. Homeschoolers Brandon Geist, Clare Murphy, Elizabeth Troxler, and others, have attended this program in drama, creative writing, and dance.


PA Gov School for Health Care— For students wanting to explore study in human services, health care issues, therapies, pharmaceuticals, sports medicine, public health, mental health, and medical careers. Held at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, from June 27-July 31, 1999. Current 11th graders only may apply; application deadline is February 3, 1999. The first homeschooler attended this program just this past summer-- Janelle Kolva of Elizabethville PA. It helped really confirm that she does want to go into the field of nursing.


PA Gov School for International Studies— For students fascinated by foreign languages, world cultures, political science, business, economics, world history, current events. Held at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, from June 27-July 31, 1999. Current 11th graders only may apply; applications due by January 6, 1999. My son Jesse was the first homeschooler at PGSIS-- and maybe the program encouraged him to later go on his Semester at Sea trip around the world.


PA Gov School for the Sciences— For students eager to study chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and computer science. Held at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, from June 27-July 31, 1999. Current 11th graders only may apply; applications due by Jane 6, 1999. Many homeschoolers have attended this program-- including Clay Detweiler, Rhett Smith, Bethany Weir, and my son Jacob. All are now pursuing science majors in college.


PA Gov School for Teaching— For students who want to explore the world of teaching in any subject area, learn more about educational processes, educational psychology, human services, and more. Held at Millersville University, Lancaster PA, from July 11-August 14, 1999. Homeschooler Kristie McElroy attended this program in its first year-- and ended up being invited to give a presentation about homeschooling to a class of graduate students there!


If you have any questions about the PA Governor’s Schools program, call the PA Dept of Education weekdays at 717-524-5244 or email questions to mailto:cebeling@northstar.sciu.k12.pa.us or check out the PDE website at http://www.pde.psu.edu/docs/pde/ESGOVSCH.HTL - GOV. If you email us at richmans@pahomeschoolers.com, I can send on names of homeschooling families who’ve had a student take part in a Governor’s Schools program in the past, so you can gain more specific info. T


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